My favorite place is the south of France, but this isn't the time to be there. I just got back from Maine. It's terrible there. The only really great place in August is a big city in America. It may be a little hotter, but you don't have trouble getting into the movies.

The only thing you have to do is stay away from the tourist places. If you can avoid them, you can have a fabulous time. The bureaucracy clears out, but, then again, they never mix.

-- Warren Adler

Washington Dossier magazine

The month of August should be taken off the calendar. When Congress goes home, we're left all alone.

The heat and humidity keep the tourists away. All the big shots go fishing and go to play golf. We in the restaurant business stay open and hope that it rains, so that all the people who eat in the parks will have to come in. Congress should make the month of August a national holiday and let everyone stay home.

-- Mel Krupin

Owner of Mel Krupin's restaurant

Yes, Washington does exist. I just bumped into a famous journalist at Brooks Brothers -- you can buy your husband's underwear there on sale. He's writing a book. It's the best time to write because everybody is away. Also it's the best time to see people, because if they're here, they're the most relaxed. They go through a different thing in August. They become nicer in August. They're less demanding and even grateful to be asked for dinner, especially if you have air-conditioning. A few people linger around, and those who linger want to be recognized. If they don't want to be recognized all year 'round, in August they take their ties off and go slumming.

I myself like to go to the Renwick Gallery and sit there with a shopping bag full of my husband's freshly bought, on-sale underwear.

-- Sondra Gotlieb

Her column, "Letter From Washington," appears on the op-ed page.

We're bringing out some superb flavors of ice cream in August, and if some people choose to leave town, that leaves more for the rest of us.

-- John Darling

Ice-cream maker, Bob's Famous Homemade Ice Cream.

Correction

In Close to Home July 28, a quotation from Maryland State Del. Tim Maloney (D-Prince George's) said state grants for Metro "are expected to increase by over 50 percent over the next year. . . ." It should have said over the next five years.